Some thoughts on depression

Can we talk about depression for a bit here?

I’ve been seeing a lot of friends make quick posts about it, and today I’ve been feeling the nudge to say a thing or two.

Many of you have been witnesses to the life transformation that’s happened for me over the past two years. Early next month marks the two year anniversary of the first time I stepped into a gym and started turning my life around. 80 pounds later, life changed blah blah, you’ve likely heard the story.

But really, I’d like to talk about the person that I was before two years ago. This is a story I’ve been reluctant to really share in public, but I’m feeling lead to speak up today.

I was depressed.

I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that, and frankly, at the time I couldn’t afford a doctor to tell me that. I found complete escape in playing video games, and even though I could tell that something was wrong, help seemed unreachable.

I was unhealthy: physically, mentally, and certainly spiritually. For a while, the thought of God didn’t make any sense in me. How could there be someone above it all that knew my name, cared about my lunch preferences or actually has a plan for my life. I sat in worship just longing to feel ANYTHING while singing, but I just couldn’t connect. God was gone.

I loved my friends but on their first sign of being concerned with my health or well being, they were met with extreme cynicism and sometimes anger. I knew that I wasn’t “in shape” and you didn’t have to tell me about it.

I never had thoughts of suicide, but I probably wasn’t far from them. I’ve always been a futuristic minded person- ask anyone who’s talked StrengthsFinder with me, but at the time I couldn’t see myself living to 30. … Or if I’d even want to. (30 is October for me… YIKES!)

I should have gone for help, but I was stubborn. Really, I still am stubborn in just about everything, but that’s a double edged sword.

My wake up call came from a dream one October morning where I had drifted back asleep after my brother had tried to wake me up to go on a walk with his new puppy. I had partied all weekend for my birthday and needed some sleep, so stubborn-Dan was going to get his sleep. I drifted into that dream world where you’re certainly dreaming, but at the same time completely knowledgeable that you’re dreaming.

I was at the bottom of a hole. But I was looking at myself at the bottom of a hole. Stuck. Trapped. Didn’t look all that strong. Frail Even. I had this feeling and realization that it was my decision right then and there on whether or not I was going to get out. … I woke up and went to find my brother!

That wasn’t the end of the depression, but a few months later a friend had finally got me signed up with a gym membership, and I fell in love with working out.

The rest was history, right?

I shared a brief story about depression in church last year, I had a friend who had suffered from mental illness during much of his life pull me aside and say “Ok, so you pulled yourself out from the Bootstraps, but next time you might not be so lucky, call me if you’re ever feeling down like that again”

He’s right.

I’m not completely in the clear, I still have bad days, I still have days where I’m unsure of priorities, or I bounce mindlessly from one task to another, just working for work’s sake. The difference is that now I recognize it for what it is, and I force myself to lace up my shoes and get to the gym for my “treatment”

I find that when I go through periods of hectic deadlines one of the first things to get sacrificed is my time in the gym, or my diet. At least I know now and can reorient when the time is right.

January is a hard month for many of us — Suicide is most prevalent during this month. Google is telling me that the 3rd Monday of the January is the most depressing day of the year. If you are struggling, or are just feeing “off” don’t be afraid to speak up to somebody, any safe person will do. I’m available to listen but I’m not trained in any way.

I believe that we are here for a reason, that we’re all different for a reason, and that you’re uniquely GIFTED for a reason. Don’t tap out before it’s your time.

Trained help can be found here:
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
Veterans Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255 press 1
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

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